Huntington Beach's Ethan Wojciechowski rises for a contested shot by Corona del Mar's Will Ueberroth against visiting Corona del Mar on Saturday night. The host Oilers won, 8-5.

Huntington Beach finishes strong to win opener (updated)


Huntington Beach’s boys water polo team opened its CIF-or-bust season Saturday night by scoring the first three goals of the fourth period to pull away from visiting Corona del Mar for an 8-5 victory in a tight Division 1 clash.

Captain Ethan Wojciechowski sparked the surge in the final seconds of the third period by drawing an exclusion on a steal at the perimeter. The senior then won the fourth-period sprint and snapped a 4-4 tie with a power-play strike from the wing off a pass by Matt Robert.

Wojciechowski unleashed a splash after finally beating Corona del Mar goalie Matt Moran, who was tough in the third by making six of his 11 saves in blanking the Oilers.

RELATED VIDEO: Postgame interview

Huntington Beach added a perimeter strike by Curtis Jarvis and a powerful goal from center by Quinten Osborne to extend the lead to 7-4. Robert netted the final goal from the perimeter with 1:50 left.

The Oilers also overcame three goals by Corona del Mar center Tamir Avital despite playing without three top players: Jacob Cavano (sick) and sitout-period transfers Ryan Hurst and Garrett Zaan.

“My boys are warriors,” Huntington Beach coach Sasa Branisavljevic said. “They are a fourth-quarter team definitely.”

Robert, Osborne, Jarvis and Wojciechowski each finished with two goals. Osborne and Robert each added two field blocks, an area of improvement for the Oilers.

Corona del Mar scored the first two goals, and while it didn’t lead again, tied the score at 3 and 4. The Sea Kings return two starters from last season.

Newcomer Mitchell Copper scored twice.

“I’m super proud of my guys,” Corona del Mar coach Barry O’Dea said. “I build for November. … Would you want to see us in November? You know how much we improve.”

Corona del Mar finished 2 for 6 on the power play. Huntington Beach went 3 for 6 with the extra attacker and received five saves from Patrick Saunders.

In other games:

At the Santa Barbara Invitational:

No. 3 Orange Lutheran 11, Loyola of Los Angeles 7: The Lancers got six steals and two goals from Mat Kacura in the championship game.

Capistrano Valley 10, Carpinteria 7: Coach Steve Yancey earned his 500th career victory as the Cougars finished the tournament at San Marcos.

In nonleague:

Newport Harbor 15, Coronado 11: Connor Turnbow-Lindenstadt had seven goals and four steals to help lead the visiting Sailors (2-0). Newport Harbor's Cole Brosnan netted three goals while Max Sandberg made 12 saves.

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